WILDERNESS FIRST AID BASICS: SURVIVING INJURY IN THE OUTDOORS
21st Feb 2017
by Camp Monk
You may be carrying a basic first aid kit in your pack and that is a great practice. Still, you are venturing off into the wild. Depending on your adventure you may be miles away from any help. You have to respect the wild. Respect the loose rock or a falling tree that could turn your camping trip into a life-threatening circumstance. There are no ambulances coming to the rescue. In most, you or someone you love must be airlifted out of a bad situation.
We are going to explore some very basic first aid practices in this article. You should be prepared to handle things like shock and hypothermia.
WILDERNESS FIRST AID BASICS: HYPOTHERMIA & SHOCK
In the event of hypothermia, the victim’s core body temperature has dropped dangerously low. This is can be a killer if not treated quickly. You will need to act fast to save yourself or the person you are treating.
- Get them out of the elements as quickly as possible
- Get them near a fire or other heat source
- If the victim is wet remove all wet clothing
- Cover them with a cloth, emergency blanket or another type of dry insulated material
After the body experiences a severe injury or several injuries it can oftentimes go into shock. The symptoms are cold clammy skin, rapid pulse, and rapid breathing
- Lay the person down
- Elevate the feet of the victim
- Do not elevate the head
- Keep the person warm and comfortable
- Treat any other injuries
- Give fluids
USING NATURE IN YOUR WILDERNESS FIRST AID
Now that we have covered these very basics first aid issues. Let’s look at how we can use nature to help us survive an injury in the outdoors. We will review four very important methods to be included in your wilderness first aid basics.
Sharp rocks, tool use, putting up tents, or a simple fall can result in cuts of varying degrees. You have to be prepared not just to stop the bleeding but to keep the wound clean and heal it quickly.
The good news is that there are several plants in the wild that can be mashed up to create a poultice. The poultice will go between the bandage and your cut. It will aid the wound with powerful antibacterial healing properties as well as soothing nutrients for the skin itself.
Chickweed, Plantain and Red Rose will all help heal a wound. The stringent qualities of the red rose will stop the bleeding while things like chickweed and plantain will soothe burning and help soothe cuts as well as heal them faster.
Breaks and fractures are pretty commonplace in the hiking world, particularly in foothills and mountains. If you have someone in your party who hasn’t spent time in the uneven footing of the outdoors this could become an issue.